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Flash Gordon's Trip to Mars (1938)

Approved | | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi | 21 March 1938 (USA)
When a deadly Nitron ray strikes Earth, Flash Gordon and his friends travel to Mars to battle Ming the Merciless and his new ally Queen Azura.

Directors:

Ford Beebe, Robert F. Hill (as Robert Hill) | 1 more credit »

Writers:

Ray Trampe (original story and screenplay), Norman S. Hall (original story and screenplay) | 3 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Buster Crabbe ... Flash Gordon
Jean Rogers ... Dale Arden
Charles Middleton ... Emperor Ming
Frank Shannon ... Dr. Alexis Zarkov
Beatrice Roberts ... Queen Azura
Donald Kerr Donald Kerr ... Happy Hapgood
Richard Alexander ... Prince Barin [Chs. 6-15]
C. Montague Shaw ... Clay King (as Montague Shaw)
Wheeler Oakman ... Tarnak
Kenne Duncan ... Airdrome Captain (as Kenneth Duncan)
Warner Richmond ... Zandar
Jack Mulhall ... Bomber Captain [Chs. 4-5, 13]
Lane Chandler ... Flight Commander [Chs. 2-3]
Anthony Warde ... King Turan of the Forest People [Chs. 7, 11, 13]
Ben Lewis Ben Lewis ... Professor [Ch. 1]
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Storyline

Flash, Dale, and Dr. Zarkov return from their former space adventures only to find that their enemy, Ming the Merciless of planet Mongo, has a new weapon: a deadly ray that crosses space to wreak havoc on earth. Earth's only hope is for our heroes to take off again and stop the ray at its source on Mars, where they (and a stowaway) must battle Ming's ally, Queen Azura, who turns her enemies into lumpish clay people. Can they survive 15 chapters of deadly perils? Find out next week... Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

15 STARTLING CHAPTERS OF FURTHER ADVENTURES ON A NEW PLANET! (original-release posters) See more »


Certificate:

Approved
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 March 1938 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Space Soldiers' Trip to Mars See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (theatrical)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

BBC broadcasts of the first chapter, "New Worlds to Conquer", in the UK in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s omitted the sequence where Happy Hapgood calls at Dr. Zarkov's residence and speaks to his African-American manservant, due to the racial stereotypes. See more »

Goofs

In a couple of scenes we hear Dale scream, but we don't see her mouth open. See more »

Quotes

Emperor Ming: Take him to the Disintegrating Room.
See more »

Connections

Follows Flash Gordon (1936) See more »

Soundtracks

Romeo and Juliet Overture
(uncredited)
(Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky)
Heard in episodes 1 to 3 to introduce various characters
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Great escapism; not quite as good as the 1st "Flash" serial
15 April 2002 | by daveoshSee all my reviews

Some of my reactions to Flash Gordon serials (such as this one) are similar to my feelings about the original Star Trek series. I revel in the swashbuckling fun and the intensity of the experience. I marvel at the ingenious and original sci-fi elements, while chuckling at some of the increasingly dated technology and special effects. I roll my eyes at some of the overacting while secretly cherishing it. I question the plausibility of some of the plot elements, and wince at some of the social commentary that hasn't aged particularly well.

In Flash Gordon's Trip to Mars, many of the actors from the first serial return in their memorable roles. In particular, Buster Crabbe (Flash) and Charles Middleton (Ming) portray their characters with a great deal of flair. Jean Rogers (Dale Arden) seems more subdued and less memorable than in her previous outing. (This may reflect my disapproval of her transformation from a blonde to a short-haired brunette and her censor-demanded, conservative garb!) The new comic-relief journalist character (not present in the original comic strip), "Happy" Hapgood, seems to be a bit of a miscalculation, but his role falls far short of "Jar-Jar" level distraction.

The storyline is interesting, although things do drag a bit during the second half of the serial. The plot is primarily action-driven; the romantic story angles that percolated through the first series are virtually absent here. Although the world of Mars is not as diverse as Mongo's (Lionmen, Sharkmen, Hawkmen), the Clay People are a sad and interesting race. The acting and special effects both seem somewhat more polished than in the first serial. Although in one sense this is an improvement, it also removes some of the quirky fun. Overall, this is an enjoyable and memorable serial that fans of old sci-fi will want to seek out.


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